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Western films, from silent to today

Quintana: Dead or Alive (1969)

Quintana (1969) poster Governor Don Juan De Leyra rules the area around his hacienda with an iron fist. But right now, his primary concern is recapturing the love of lovely Virginia De Leon (Femi Benussi).

Seems her father’s death put some doubts in Virginia’s mind about Don Juan (Aldo Bufi Landi). She’s now fallen in love with Maneul de la Loma.

So the governor has Manuel imprisoned for allegedly shooting and killing three soldiers. He’s convicted and sentenced to death.

At that point, of course, Virginia gets an ultimatim: Marry Don Juan, and Manuel’s life will be spared. Refuse, and he’ll be executed.

What Don Juan doesn’t know is that the poncho-wearing masked avenger known as Quintana who’s been terrorizing his troops is really Jose de la Loma — Manuel’s brother.

So he frees Manuel from prison and has him hide out in the monastery of the friendly Padre Mansueto (Ignazio Spalla).

But Don Juan isn’t going to give up that easily. He raises the price on Quintana’s head, then decides he’ll simply kidnap Virginia and hold her in prison until her will breaks.

Review:

Director Vicenzo Musolino cocks his camera at odd angles to give him film an artsy appearance. Felice De Stefano delivers an oft rousing score.

But neither can rescue a film that features a muddled plot and still looks like it was shot on a shoestring budget.

At one point, our hero, unmasked, walks into the cantina in his hometown to enjoy some wine with the padre. The soldiers want the wine he’s drinking.

So, suddenly, Quintana/Joes starts a fight with them, then starts gunning them down, not caring the least that doing so will blow his cover and put his parents in jeopardy.

In another scene, the padre — who’s already been helping Quintana all along — takes time to kneel down at the alter and ask God if that’s okay. And you know what? He gets an answer!

God seems to think that’s just fine, so the body count — and there are plenty of dead bodies in this one — just keeps rising.

Tony Dimitri (George Stevenson) as Quintana in Quintana (1969)

Tony Dimitri (George Stevenson) as Quintana in Quintana (1969)

Aldo Bufi Landi as Don Juan De Leyra in Quintana (1969)

Aldo Bufi Landi as Don Juan De Leyra in Quintana (1969)

Directed by:
Vicenzo Musolino
as Glenn Vincent Davis

Cast:
Tony Dimitri … Quintana / Jose
as George Stevenson
Femi Benussi … Virginia De Leon
Ignazio Spalla … Padre Mansueto
as Pedro Sanchez
Aldo Bufi Landi … Don Juan De Leyra
as John Levery
Marisa Traversi … Perla
Alberto Conversi … Alverez
Spartaco Conversi … Rodrigo
Celso Faria … Manuel de la Loma
Antonietta Fiorito … Esmerelda
Omero Gargano … Captain Diaz

Runtime: 83 min.

Music: Felice Di Stefano

aka:
Quintana: Dead or Alive

Femi Benussi as Virginia De Leon in Quintana (1969)

Femi Benussi as Virginia De Leon in Quintana (1969)

Celso Faria as Manuel de la Loma in Quintana (1969)

Celso Faria as Manuel de la Loma in Quintana (1969)

Memorable lines:

Jose, after his father says Manuel has been arrested for shooting three soldiers: “What? You must have heard it wrong, father. Shoot three soldiers? Him? It’s impossible. That man’s no more violent than a watermelon.”
Miguel: “This is no time for joking, Jose. We’d be better to say a prayer. He’s going to be hanged at dawn.”

Perla, when Don Juan has Virginia captured and brought to his ranch: “Juan, Juan, I love you.”
Don Juan: “Listen to me, Pearl. For a long time, I’ve found your love extremely boring. And since you brought it up, you might as well know now: I want you out of this house.”

Mexican peasant at hideout: “There’s no one here who wouldn’t put his life on the line, no matter the odds, to defend Quintana.”
Rodrigo: “Defending him is the same as defending liberty.”

Ignazio Spalla (Pedro Sanchez) as Padre Mansueto in Quintana (1969)

Ignazio Spalla (Pedro Sanchez) as Padre Mansueto in Quintana (1969)

Marisa Traversi as Perla in Quintana (1969)

Marisa Traversi as Perla in Quintana (1969)

Trivia:

Director Vicenzo Musolino appeared in a couple of Spaghetti Westerns as an actor before deciding to focus on film production. This was one of two films he directed, 1969’s “May God Forgive You, But I Won’t.” He died of a heart attack on his birthday, the same year those films were released. Depending on the source, he was 39 or 40.

Femi Benussi served as little more than eye candy in her first two Spaghetti Westerns — “Death Walks in Laredo” and “Last of the Badmen” (both 1967). As the top-billed female, she has a much larger role here. She also sports an incredibly tall wig.

Omero Gargano as Captain Diaz in Quintana (1969)

Omero Gargano as Captain Diaz in Quintana (1969)

Tony Dimitri (George Stevenson) as Joe, aka Quintana, in Quintana (1969)

Tony Dimitri (George Stevenson) as Joe, aka Quintana, in Quintana (1969)

Antonietta Fiorito as Esmerelda in Quintana (1969)

Antonietta Fiorito as Esmerelda in Quintana (1969)

Femi Benussi as Virginia De Leon with Aldo Bufi Landi as Don Juan De Leyra in Quintana (1969)

Femi Benussi as Virginia De Leon with Aldo Bufi Landi as Don Juan De Leyra in Quintana (1969)

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